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Transmission Tue Jan 04 2011
For the second day in a row, Brian King and David Prowse of Japandroids played Schubas Tavern to a New Years Day crowd that mainly consisted of post new years eve celebrants looking for some post-angst rock. Joining Japandroids for the New Years day night hijinks was the Chicago anthemic synth-rock band Light Pollution. They took the stage promptly at 10:00 p.m. and began playing to an already full room.
Light Pollutions' James Cicero and Matt Evert, the long-haired, bearded friends, were joined by guitarist Nick Sherman and newcomer, bassist Justin Park. Perhaps a nod to the sentiment of the night, the band began the set with "Sleepwalker," new material that will potentially go on their still unnamed forthcoming album. Interspersed through the set were fan favorites and critic approved "Oh Ivory" and "Good Feelings." In between songs, Cicero warmed up the crowd for the "super cool dudes" from Japandroids and removed a grey sweater to reveal a white Hawaii shirt that looked like it had seen extensive touring. After playing through "Bad Vibes" off of Apparitions, Cicero took tambourine in hand and finished the set with new song "Wild World," a mournful, yet redeeming tune.
After finishing their set, Light Pollution quickly packed away their instruments and made their way to Schubas' green room. Cicero, Evert and Sherman sat on a long couch with their backs to a concrete wall furnished with the concert posters of acts passed. Bassist Justin Park paced back and forth, chowing down and pita bread and hummus that Schubas had provided.
"Can you smoke down here" Cicero asked.
"No, it's Chicago," Sherman replied.
As iPhones were being set down on a small coffee table in the green room, Cicero mentioned that his phone was stolen by hipster crack-heads in Vancouver, or more affectionately, the 'couve.
"They're everywhere — hipster crackheads," Cicero said.
At that point, David from Japandroids walked into the green room and pulled a few beers from the cooler that Schubas provided. Immediately after, King also entered the room looking like he just emerged from a rain storm.
"Dude, you look all sweaty, and you haven't even played yet," Sherman said to King.
"You know what happens, nowadays, I always wet my hair down before we start playing because what happens, is that my hair dries and gets super curly and out of control, and my hair is literally in my mouth."
"Why don't you shave your hair," Sherman jests.
"Well, it wouldn't look as spectacular when I was thrashing about," King said like you would expect a true Canadian from the 'couve to say about.
After a few more minutes of friendly back-and-forth between King of Japandroids and the members of Light Pollution, King realized that they an interview was taking place and excused himself with a last few words for the rising Chicago band, "Choose your words wisely. The internet never forgets."
Since being signed with Carpark Records, the band has been able to focus on touring and playing a lot more shows. Cicero had at one point spent up to 25 hours a week e-mailing blogs and labels just to promote the band. Being signed to the label "made a big difference." Light Pollution is the label's first Midwestern band as well.
Many newly formed bands may think that the only way to make it in the world is to head to Brooklyn, New York. But in the grand scope of things, "it doesn't matter. It matters what music you make," Cicero said. Granted, "there is a little bonus if you do it in Brooklyn. They say if you make it there, you make it everywhere. But with the internet, it doesn't really matter."
Though they were signed onto a Washington D.C. Label, Light Pollution still considers themselves a Chicago band. "We played D.C. a bunch, but it's not a special connection for us. We're still a Chicago band." Speaking about the Chicago music scene further, Light Pollution described it as a "weird situation." Living in Pilsen, Cicero stipulated that scenes are usually organized by neighborhood.
"Everything is very separated. It keeps changing," said Sherman.
"It'd be better if there was a sense of community, but it's not happening with us here in Chicago," Cicero said.
The band has friends all over the country, and as demonstrated by being signed to D.C. Label Carpark Records, it doesn't matter where you are, because of the internet.
Early on, the band's album, "Apparitions," met sharp criticism. When reminded of the early reviews, Cicero and Sherman acknowledged the ratings, but said that " it wasn't a big deal, because you make the record you want to make, and that's it." Cicero knows the early flaws of the album and said that the band had moved to change some things, but overall thought that bands shouldn't worry about reviews too much. He then pointed to an example where a band, "Aerial Pink," was once berated but then later extolled by the same music site.
After the interview, Light Pollution headed upstairs to see Japandroids rock out to a packed house of mostly male fans. They lifted their cups of beer particularly high as they sang along to the band's stand-out song "Young Hearts Spark Fire," singing "we're too drunk to feel it" until the night's end.